Ten dollar-store hacks and DIYs

Jaycee Kalama, Columnist

When you finally find a place you can call home, it is a good idea to decorate it and add your own personal touch. Adding personality to a space is an exercise carrying significance not only for the occupants, but for anyone who may visit, because it creates a welcoming sense of comfort. College is a stressful and a money-tight time in many people’s lives and many students want to make their home feel comfortable on a low budget. Here are some dollar store tip and tricks to making your space feel like home.

1. Make DIY decor for your home. 

You can make one-dollar decor pieces look like a million bucks if you add your own personal touch to it. Letter boards are a great way to add your personality to a room through your own words, favorite quotes and lyrics. Prints can also add some art that livens up the room, or a thoughtful quote. After selecting a print you like, you can choose your favorite style of picture frame from the dollar store to put it in. The dollar store also sells peelable letter stickers that you can put on the glass of picture frames to display your favorite quote from the Office. 

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2. Create DIY floral wall art from scratch. 

I made this wall art for my roommates and to personalize our home. The dollar store has a floral section with a wide variety of plants to choose from. They also have ribbon and letters to throw into your DIY to really make it yours.

I put  floral wall art above our TV on a big blank wall. This DIY goes hand-in-hand with tip number seven. The plants incorporated into your wall art help create a fresh feel to the room. 

3. Buy contact paper in the kitchen to bring individuality and creativity to the room. 

Contact paper is an adhesive surface cover which is easily removable, making it optimal for temporary setups, like a rented apartment. 

On one hand, if you have neutral colored counter tops, use a bright patterned contact paper to act as a backsplash. This will make the kitchen feel like a welcoming place with a touch of personality. 

On the other hand, if your kitchen features a colorful countertop, such as the red counters in my apartment, I would recommend a neutral pattern for the walls of your kitchen. Use the color of your counters as an accent color and embrace it. Incorporating that color throughout your kitchen will tie the room together. 

The great thing about this DIY backsplash is that it only costs a dollar per roll at the dollar store and it can be used anywhere in the house. Whether that be the counters, your desk or dining table, it will make any room look personalized. 

4. Stack upward with organizers, not outward, to create more counter space. 

Many college-budget residences do not have much counter space in the kitchens or the bathrooms. Using stackable storage from the dollar store will save space and create the illusion of a tidy surface. 

In my kitchen, I used the one dollar space-saver to store my plates, bowls, mugs and things that I use on a daily basis. Not only did this free up space on my counters, but it also created room in my cabinets for pots, pans and snacks. 

This storage hack can also be used on desks, in pantries, under sinks and for countless other uses. For example, stackable storage can be used to hold a video game console, the games themselves, as well as the controllers. This will make any desk or TV stand that much less crowded. 

5. Take advantage of over-the-door storage

This hack can be used universally anywhere in the home. Over-the-door storage of any kind is efficient and organizational. Over the door shoe storage can also be used in the pantry for canned foods and other contents of the pantry. It can also be used in a closet to organize accessories or socks. 

Other type of over the door storage, such as the one that can be found in my kitchen, was bought at the dollar store and is now being used to hold my spices and hand towels. Pro tip: not all over-the-door storage needs to be hung over the door. This type of storage could also be used under the sink to hold cleaning supplies and dish soap, or next to the bathroom sink to store a razor, shaving cream and a wash rag. 

6. Use magazine holders and desk organizers throughout the space. 

Any type of desk organizer is a great way to store small everyday objects like remotes, books, spatulas, cleaning supplies and in my case, video games and movies too. 

These were also a dollar each but provide a larger purpose. Stacking movies is a form of organization but it does not look tidy to the eye. Simply putting objects you reach for every day into a specific place makes them easier to find and better to look at.

7. Use plants throughout the house to liven up a space. 

The dollar store offers a variety of fake florals and succulents as well as colorful vases that can bring any room to life. If your couch or walls are a neutral color, I would recommend using flowers and an accented pot for a splash of color. 

My apartment features a salmon colored couch, so I stuck with greenery in simple pots. This allows the couch color to pop while the plants make the living room feel fresh with a touch of simplicity. 

My tip? You can never have enough plants in your home. Put plants on your desk, bookshelf, coffee table and even in your kitchen. I put a hanging plant in my kitchen to save counter space while still making the small kitchen feel homey. 

8. Turn an ordinary object into a statement piece. 

As you can see in the picture, I used a chess board on my side table as decoration. Not only does this tell people that I like to play chess, but it shows guests I can make my home look stylish without much effort.

If you are into listening to music on a record player, use it as a decor piece on your bookshelf, put your vinyls on display or even frame a few for your walls. This makes your hobbies and interests easily accessible and visible to your guests, as well as being a good conversation starter. 

9. Use mirrors anywhere you can. 

Mirrors aren’t just good for looking at yourself, they also create the illusion of a bigger room. It is important that your home feels open and airy for you and your guests because it brings a sense of comfort. Mirrors reflect the natural light, making any room feel brighter as well.

I put a big mirror over my couch to open up the space and I added little accent mirrors on a small wall between my windows. This is a great way to make use of awkward spaces in a room. I found the three round mirrors at the dollar store for a dollar each and it was a great purchase because the small mirrors made a big difference to the room.

10. Hide ugly walls with art. 

Whether it be peeling paint or an electric panel, use art to cover that eyesore. Some things are unavoidable, I used a macrame wall hanging to hide an electric panel on my wall. It’s the little extra touches like that which take the level of a room that much higher. 

 The dollar store sells placemats that can be put on your dining table to protect the surface and elevate the look of the room.  

They also sell sticker labels that can be used in the pantry or on a bookshelf to make organizing a whole lot easier. 

I would recommend taking a trip to the local dollar store to see what you can find and what you can create for your home. The possibilities are endless when it comes to expressing yourself through home decor.